Sunday’s nail-biting Solheim Cup victory over the United States was “a dream come true” Europe captain Catriona Matthew said after Sunday’s 14½-13½ win at Gleneagles.
Europe won the last three matches, with wildcard pick Suzann Pettersen holing the winning putt on the last hole to snatch the trophy back on a day of high drama in Scotland.
“It was a fantastic moment,” said Matthew. “All 12 players played their hearts out. We wouldn’t have won it if it wasn’t for all of us.”
The US looked set to claim a third successive Solheim Cup when they led 13½-11½, only needing half a point from the final three matches to reach 14 points and retain the trophy.
But Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist completed a 4&3 victory and England’s Bronte Law won her match on the 17th, moments before Pettersen completed a sensational comeback victory with a birdie at the 18th.
Matthew, who played in nine Solheim Cups, had initially asked 38-year-old Norwegian Pettersen, who only returned to playing this year after taking time out in November 2017 to have a baby, to be a non-playing vice-captain.
However, despite only playing two events – missing the cut at both – since returning earlier this year, Matthew picked Pettersen, whose world ranking is 665, as one of her four wildcard selections.
When asked if she felt justified in making that call, Matthew, who received some criticism at the time, replied: “Just a little bit.”
Pettersen called it the “ultimate scenario for winning back the Solheim Cup”, referring to her Scottish captain.
“It doesn’t get any better. The home of golf, Scotland, big crowds, Beany [Matthew] being here and from just up the street.”
England’s Bronte Law, who sprinted up the 18th after winning her match to join the celebrations, said the “phenomenal” home support had been “the 13th member of the team” with 90,000 people attending the event.
“This is nothing I’ve ever experienced in my life,” said the 24-year-old from Stockport.
“They were screaming all day and it made a massive difference. You can hear them rooting for you and it makes a massive difference. It gives you that pep in your step and keeps you going when you make mistakes.
“And when I made those mistakes I just listened to the crowd, they were cheering me all the way around.”
Law also admitted: “I was trying to do the maths but I couldn’t remember whether it was 14½ points or 14 to win, so I just thought ‘win your point and the rest will be taken care of’. And Suzann took care of it.”